Category Archives: convergence

The Nominal Network: When Things Go Asocial

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Location-based social networks like Connect and Highlight alert you to people who happen to be near your current location. By “people,” we essentially mean friends or those with similar interests (friends of friends). For a fee, SocialRadar even allows you to hook in LinkedIn contacts for quick access to someone’s  professional details (or – eek! their connections!) on the go.

And then there’s Cloak, the polar opposite – a reverse model because you’d actually prefer to avoid bumping into said people on the street. It works the same way as the others, but Cloak has a very different user interface to differentiate its purpose – dark and mysterious, with a setting that makes the phone vibrate anytime someone is within a distance of your choosing.

Cloak is social rehab – for those who want to avoid an ex, a client, a mutual social malcontent. Connections remain where we can browse them, at a safe distance and at our convenience in the two dimensional space of digital terroir.

In a similar vein, Breather advertises “Peace and quiet, on demand.” It’s essentially a room-rental service where users can find and rent rooms by the hour – ideally to take a nap, meet with clients, work, or to meditate.

Are we around each other so much that we’re actually fighting for the opportunity to be left alone?

Historically, digital tools were developed for connecting us to one another in order to share and spread information. With the overwhelming amount of ways to do that, it’s only natural that we start craving some distance, allowing ourselves to disconnect for actual Headspace (ironically there’s an app for that, too).

Come to think of it, we’re awfully hard on ourselves and these tools are strong evidence of that. I’d like to see an app that encourages me to be lazy on the weekends. Or better yet, the reverse of a to-do list – a blank screen allowing me to willing enter what I  did that day without the hassle of a pseudo digital nanny.

Today, I:

Ate a salad for lunch. Did 30 minutes of cardio. Thought happy thoughts. Didn’t run into anyone too horrible. And, actually remembered – without any alerts – to pick up rice milk on the way home!

 Yay for me!  Little Things!

At the end of the day perhaps I’m not going to avoid anybody or anything, except maybe trust the real world a little more, take a deep breath, and avoid anything beeping or blinking coming from my phone.

Portable Presents: The Curators Conference

I’m back in LA for a day before we’re off to Connecticut for the wedding of dear friends John and Sarah. And of course, to attend another conference, this time in NYC.

This one is particularly close to home. Not geographically, but because it pays homage to a topic — and general methodology — that I’ve always been passionate about and try to embrace every day.

As culture lovers, or for those who are simply curious, we all curate our interests and passions. Whether we feverishly collect recipes, indie artwork or shoes — and use Facebook, Tumblr, or Pinterest to do so — collecting and sharing content from across the web is a phenomenon that shapes our culture in many ways.  It’s a creative force driven by the people, and it influences everything from new typefaces to what we see on the runway.

There are folks who have created a living doing just that. They are storytellers, culture shapers, the new digital conservator. These creatives possess the knowledge and know-how to sharpen their method into a fine-tuned practice while turning their leadership skills into a brand, business, and voice.

Next week, some of these illustrious individuals will come together for one day to further explore the intersection of creative curation with modern culture.  Debuting as part of New York Fashion Week, the influential video and culture site Portable is presenting a day-long conference featuring leading creatives from the worlds of fashion, film, music, tech, and design.

Highlights include talks from fashion filmmaker and photographer Gia Coppola; Susie Bubble, Founder of Style Bubble; Josh Rubin, Co-Founder of Cool Hunting; and Phillipe von Borries, Co-Founder of Refinery29. Each speaker will discuss curation within their respective field, providing insight into their specific platform and how it shapes their practice.


The event is happening next Wednesday, September 5th at the Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center in NYC.

A limited amount of tickets are still available here.

Check out the Portable.tv playlist on Spotify.

Data is the new Journal. (2 of 2)

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Social sharing sites like Facebook and Google+ are great for countless reasons. The discovery factor is amplified and quick. We have the ability to catch up and communicate with people easily and on-the-go.

Our social networks, paired alongside various algorithms, place everything in somewhat omnidirectional proportion to our personal interests. Some folks watch the stream of information passively while others can’t help but participate. Frequently. Like a habit that’s hard to break. But habits are usually created because there’s some sort of personal payoff involved. What’s in it here?

Do we participate out of boredom? For entertainment? Documentation? Self-declaration? All of the above?

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